NZ, Australia abandon joint medicine agency

The New Zealand and Australian governments have abandoned talks to establish a joint agency for regulating medicines. 

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and his Australian counterpart Peter Dutton announced today that efforts to establish the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency (ANZTPA) would be shelved, after a review failed to find adequate cost benefits for either country.

Prime Minister John Key signed an agreement with then-Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in June, 2011, that officials would begin work on implementing the agency. 

ANZTPA was to take up to five years to set up. Key said at the time that a government review in five years would consider whether or not to maintain a separate scheme.

With talks now dashed, New Zealand's Medsafe and Australia's Therapeutic Goods' Administration would carry on as normal, though Coleman said New Zealand would be tightening its own laws. 

"I have asked the Ministry of Health to develop a comprehensive regulatory scheme for therapeutic products in New Zealand," he said.

"It is important we modernise our regulation of medicines. There are benefits in bringing medicines, devices, cell and tissue therapies under a single cost effective regulatory framework."

Meanwhile, both countries would continue to co-operate on the regulation of therapeutic products "where there are mutual benefits for consumers, businesses and regulators in each country", both health ministers said in a statement

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 - Stuff

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